February 23, 2012

FILMS THAT SHOULD BE MADE: Frank Miller's Hard Boiled

Back in 2001, it was announced by Variety that Warner Bros. and David Fincher were going to be adapting the much praised and visually stunning graphic novel Hard Boiled from Frank Miller and artist Geof Darrow. Nicolas Cage was in talks to play the lead character Nixon. This ultimately didn't happen and everyone involved walked away from the film. The comic is similar to a mix of Fifth Element/Heavy Metal meets Blade Runner/Sin City. It features the setting of an over populated gritty futuristic L.A. littered with violence. The main character Nixon seems to live a double life but is unaware of it. Believing he's just an average family man. 

During the height of the successful releases of Sin City and 300 it was back in development. Frank Miller talking to MTV mentioned he was in talks to direct it. The project quickly went into limbo when Miller's directing debut The Spirit tanked. If Warner Bros. is dying to make more comic book films Hard Boiled should be on the top of their list since the material if prime for an adaptation. The studio is currently beginning production on the sequel/prequel to Miller's 300 in the next couple of months which is somewhat inspired by his new graphic novel Xerxes.


My first thoughts went to Luc Besson mainly because of the design and scope of his film The Fifth Element. That film borrowed a lot of from the original Hard Boiled artwork by artist Geof Darrow. Yet it looks like he's got enough projects in development along with another original science fiction blockbuster on the way.

Ultimately the best director for this would be Paul Verhoeven who has tackled this satirical science fiction material previously with Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers. Yet, the Dutch director has stated many times his distaste for sci-fi. It's extremely assuming since he's one of the best directors of the genre. Personally, I'd love to Verhoeven return for one more crazy genre outing like Hard Boiled.

I wouldn't rule out a studio loyalist like Christopher Nolan tackling the material. Since someone like Fincher was originally interested I wouldn't dismiss Nolan taking on the subject matter. He's long stated that he's a massive a fan of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and has dabbled with science fiction elements with both Prestige and Inception. This film explores similar elements used in Blade Runner and other films based on Philip K. Dick stories. Nolan is exiting the Batman franchise but hasn't announced for sure what his next film will be. He's notorious for not committing to another film until the one before it is released, focusing his entire attention to one film at a time. Given that fact we have no clue what he'll do next.

Snyder has already proven he can handle large scoped projects and delivered somewhat successful comic book adaptations with 300 and Watchmen. The way Zack recreated a 1980's Manhattan could work when a super stylized future L.A. is the setting. It helped earn him the coveted directing gig on Man of Steel. If the studio does end up for an R-rated rating Zack seems like one of the best directors to pull this off. The only problem here is that it's expected if successful he'll be asked to make the sequel to Man of Steel. If a sequel happens I assume a trilogy will be worked out during the development of Man of Steel 2.

Newcomer directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger seem like they could do big things with a large budget film like Hard Boiled. The pair are about to release their smaller budgeted science fiction actioner Lockout in April which they both directed and wrote with producer Luc Besson. This Hollywood-like film was made on the cheap and has some impressive sets/effects all things considering. I feel if Lockout is successful big studios will be knocking down their door very quickly. I get the impression that they could make a plausable adaptation and without a massive bloated budget. Along with writing a tailor-make script to fit both a low budget and their visual style.


When the news first surfaced I originally had Bruce Willis in mind but that doesn't possible as the role seems more psychical than I believe he can handle stunt-wise at his age. This is something I picture a younger 90's Willis being perfect for. With that in mind a few names come to mind. They include Russell Crowe (Gladiator, American Gangster), Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Take Shelter, Boardwalk Empire) and Clive Owen (Sin City, Children of Men) who are able to play the everyman but can be highly action driven as well when needed.

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